Four more years before WTE facility opens

| 14/04/2022 | 74 Comments
Cayman News Service
Aerial view of remediation of George Town Landfill

(CNS): Cabinet has approved a new negotiation deadline to finalise its deal with Dart for the proposed waste-to-energy facility and a new system to manage the Cayman Islands’ rubbish, including recycling. Government and the islands’ wealthiest investor now have six more months to iron out the details of the ReGen project.

As a result, work on the stalled environmental impact assessment can restart but it will now be 2026 before the ReGen waste burner is switched on, the premier has said.

PACT had held back on the deal that was signed by the previous administration just three weeks before the elections because it had concerns about the terms, such as what was included, what had been left out and the need to understand the true costs.

The decision by the last government to sign such a major commitment less than a month before the country voted in a national election is also under review and the contract itself is subject to an audit.

While the new administration has added a few months to the timeline, DECCO, one of Dart’s network of companies, was originally picked as the preferred bidder for this WTE project in October 2017. However, the idea for a WTE facility has been on successive governments’ agendas since 2005, so this latest delay is a fraction of the overall timeline of more than 20 years.

Now that Cabinet has approved this extension, Dart can restart the EIA, which is expected to take around twelve months and will include public consultation.

Responsibility for the project was transitioned to Premie Wayne Panton’s Ministry of Sustainability and Climate Resiliency in October last year, and the premier said his team had spent the last year looking at how the project has changed since the deal was announced in October 2017 and whether it still meets the country’s needs.

“In order to meet our national sustainability and infrastructure objectives, delivering a financially viable, long-term solution for solid waste management is a key priority for the Cayman Islands Government,” he said.

A key concern was ensuring that the Sister Islands’ landfill sites are addressed, as they had been taken out of the deal that was signed by the PPM-led Unity government.

“For ReGen to benefit everyone in the Cayman Islands, it’s important to ensure plans are in place to provide sustainable waste management for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman,” Panton said.

The premier said it will still be several years before the new infrastructure is up and running, with the estimated project commission date for the energy recovery facility pushed to 2026. “In the interim, preserving space at the existing landfill through waste reduction will be a top priority for the joint project team,” Panton said.

Dart President of Development Delivery and Infrastructure Cameron Graham said the developer was committed to delivering the project and they could now progress important negotiations to achieve financial close by the new deadline. “We look forward to moving the project forward in partnership with the Cayman Islands Government,” Cameron said. “A cleaner, greener Cayman Islands benefits us all.”

The benefits of the project have been well documented, including reducing greenhouse gases, helping toward the national renewable energy target, improving recycling performance and diverting up to 95% of our waste from being landfilled. But WTE is still only one step up on the inverted waste-management pyramid from using a dump.

Given that Cayman has been using an unlined open dump for decades, anything would be an improvement. But burning garbage provides no incentives for people to reduce their consumerism or reuse what they acquire. While there are plans for recycling and composting, Dart will eventually be hoping to profit from the energy project by selling the power it can generate. The plant has a fixed thermal capacity which caps the amount of waste that can be processed through the ERF and Dart has said that as a result the other elements of the waste hierarchy are essential to maintaining plant capacity.

But with the decision made that the country is going to solve its waste problem by burning it in a proper facility, the next step is for the team negotiating the deal to report back to Cabinet as soon as possible on the policy decisions and directives that will be required to achieve financial closure. “Over the next six months, the team will provide regular updates to Cabinet on the negotiations,” said Jennifer Ahearn, the ministry’s chief officer and the lead on this project.

Although the previous government had signed the deal in March 2021, moving from commercial close to financial close involved satisfying a long list of contract terms and conditions.

So the effect of the current agreement is that the deadline to obtain financial close is now pushed back some six months to 31 October at the latest. The long-stop date will then be no later than 31 January 2023, three months after the proposed financial close date.


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Category: Environmental Health, Health, Policy, Politics

Comments (74)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Just a reminder that an experienced firm called Wheelabrator won a tender process in 2010 and were awarded a contract to begin work on the dump. Then McKeeva Bush unilaterally (and illegally) cancelled that contract and gave it to Dart, despite them having no plan or experience. Wheelabrator took CIG to court and won “unspecified” damages that came out of your pocket. Dart did absolutely nothing, and Mac suffered no negative consequences whatsoever (and quite possibly received a quid pro quo from his mates at Dart). And here we are twelve years later.

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    • Name withheld. says:

      Dart is very good at getting other people’s money, but he is not always open and above board when it comes to paying money to settle his debts. I would not choose Mr. Dart to do anything for me.

  2. Say it like it is says:

    If waste to energy plants are the perfect solution why aren’t they in use all over the U.S. and the U.K. The answer is they are very expensive, unreliable due to maintenance problems, and do not make a profit.The only bit we can count on is waste!, of money, that is.

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    • Anonymous says:

      No the answer is that land is not so scare in the UK or US so landfill is more viable. Look at Singapore or the Netherlands instead and you’ll see incineration is more popular

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  3. Anonymous says:

    The key in dealing with this garbage problem is simply not creating it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Genius!

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    • D. Truth says:

      Simply not creating it? Have you ever bought food to take home? If so, wouldn’t you have stuff to put in the garbage? If not, please give our elected leader a call! He needs to know about this.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully within that 4 year period a bunch of politicians can get elected on the new promise of fixing the dump. Then the can won’t be kicked down the road..lol..

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  5. Anonymous says:

    ReGen is a Greenwashing PR exercise for DART, whose companies possess no experience in environmental consciousness, or waste management. They’ve hired a marketing agency and done up a little website with a tidy $50 graphics package to bedazzle the dumbest politicians and voters. Yet the plan clearly doesn’t address decades of unsorted, unlined volatile dumping at GT landfill. That mountain just gets ignored – covered with sand in the hope that vegetation will take root and bury it from memory. It’s still there, and still leaching. 9 Mw of power is generated from burning new trash…is that an hour, a day, a year? Does anyone know? Burning trash is not green. It involves a smoke stack, scrubbers, inspections, missing legal codes, fines, and regulations, and still requires responsible disposal of the concentrated toxic fly-ash residue after incineration. How will that be handled?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like you need to volunteer your services to the Premier. Haven’t heard him make this much sense since he was elected … and before

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    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately they so dumb to even understand what you are talking about…

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    • Anonymous says:

      Like anyone else, dart are bringing in international expertise to get it done properly, I think that can only be a good thing. They have the same burning technologies in other cities with far greater populations and they seem to work ok. You don’t think they have considered how to deal with any toxic ash? I am no dart fan but I will happily get behind this project as it helps solve the biggest environmental problem in our islands. It helps dart as well but then most things do. Plus he has an interest to do it properly.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Money should never be confused with capability. Dart routinely cut corners with limited high turnover low morale staff, and are proven to be terrible stewards of their properties and business projects. They don’t have the attention span for something this critical. It should be retendered to international Waste mgmt businesses with actual experience and capacity to offer, and they should post a significant cash bond to CIG to secure a qualified bidder status. Posting a “help wanted” to an obscure CIG web link is not the same as seeking international RFPs.

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      • Anonymous says:

        “Dart are bringing in international expertise to get it done properly” and “has an interest in doing it properly”, are false assumptions, disproven again and again over time. We have tunnels to nowhere, where there wasn’t even a fundamental development plan submitted. We have the old Hyatt left to crumble for 18 years, and a lawsuit against owners at Britannia. Maybe you are referring to all the other properties they have abandoned to become public hazards and eyesores like Calicos and Royal Palms? Why can’t Dart, with all it’s inferred resources, and international expertise, adopt best practise, or take the lease offensive and logical approach on these matters of public interest? We then want to entrust these appalling conniving stewards with our toxic garbage? I wouldn’t trust Dart to water my plants.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Dart culturally equate the phrase “doing it properly” in Cayman to mean:
        (a) the bamboozle they can safely get away with at PLA/L&S
        (b) reglaze misdirection with marketing/offsetting entertainment
        (c) deploy their legal capacity to bury any justice-seeking opponents

        Ask the Britannia owners how “doing it properly” is working out for them right now. These are owner neighbours that Dart has an interest in keeping happy, yet they are “doing it properly” through a headline event, and suing their stratas out of their registered enshrined rights and reserve funds. Corporate Citizens of the year.

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t believe you. Are you working for Mr Dart ?

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you for your input, Mrs. Dart.

      • Anonymous says:

        Do it properly? ….. Dart? You must be kidding! All Mr. Dart wants is more money. Some people seem to never have enough.

    • Anonymous says:

      “It involves a smoke stack, scrubbers, inspections, missing legal codes, fines, and regulations, and still requires responsible disposal of the concentrated toxic fly-ash residue after incineration. How will that be handled?”

      VERY FEW UNDERSTAND THAT.

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    • Anonymous says:

      “9 Mw of power is generated from burning new trash…is that an hour, a day, a year?”

      You’re confusing power and energy. MW is an instantaneous measure of power. Like when you say a car has 200 bhp. It doesn’t make any sense to ask if it has 200bhp for an hour or a year. The amount of energy it can produce in a year will be determined by the peak power and the rate it will be fed at.

      • Anonymous says:

        The point being that the Megawatt term is tossed around a lot in renewable energy proposals because few people understand the difference between megawatts (peak capacity) and megawatt hours (generation over time). There are a lot more questions than answers from Dart’s hubris-filled kindergarten presentation. We don’t have estimate data for load factor or capacity factor, or the price at which the public will need to pay DART to burn the waste, to then turn around and sell us the power! This is effectively a license to rob us at any rate they care to choose.

    • Anonymous says:

      To my understanding from a Dart presentation I once saw on this, the fly ash is going to be compacted and buried in a lined pit on site. The reality that there is nothing good that can be done with fly ash is hard to ignore and this is the best option they have for it.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Fours years, perfect just in time for another election and another renegotiation. You wont see any change until at least 2030 the way CIG runs.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s because PACT refuses to continue the Unity Govt plan which in my opinion wasn’t perfect but would work! Now we have another Government kicking the problem down the road because they have no idea what they are doing

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      • Anonymous says:

        That may be true but Unity government made it look dodgy whether it was or not by signing it at the end of their term. They could have and should have got it done mid-term.

        As much as I hate to say this, because I am absolutely no fan of the current government, before Covid, where they redeemed themselves, Alden and co were failing spectacularly on this issue, financial services and the cruise port.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Does it matter when it was signed if it got us working on fixing the dump ? Sounds a lot like sour grapes on PACTs part

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          • Anonymous says:

            Dart have a history of signing deals with unscrupulous politicians before public consultation (preferably in the absence of) and consumate without an agreed and published plan. Here’s yet another Exhibit for the catalogue, and people like you are cheering for more. Dart employees will often remark that it’s not their fault that <> are so dumb, and we don’t prove them wrong. There is nothing in the ReGen plan to “fix the dump”. It just gets covered with sand and buried from recollection while continuing uncontained seeping leachate into the north sound.

        • Anonymous says:

          Alden was a zero.

        • Anonymous says:

          Alden redeemed himself ? When? Where? How? On what?

        • Mister Agreeable says:

          Yes, I believe Alden was our most spectacular failure with financial services, the cruise port and the dump.

  7. Anonymous says:

    5 years is unacceptable. Should takes 2 years or less to be up and running and generating fuel for Cayman. Incompetence or corruption. Take your pick.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    2026? That’ll be 20 years after the intial government study into the feasibility of WTE here!

  9. Anonymous says:

    An extended or new landfill with biogas extraction would be a better sustainable choise.
    About 50 % of the CO2 in the stack gas emissions from an incinerator is of fossil origin due to plastics and other fossil polymers. The WtE plant is thus contributing to global warming at the same time as it contributes with air pollution and toxic ashes.

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  10. BOY-O-BOY says:

    CIG needs to waive Exporting taxes and STOP looking to make financial funds in TRASH

  11. Anonymous says:

    People tend to forget Health City negotiations with CIG. A Cath lab was promised to CIG and CIG in fact did extensive renovations to an OT to facilitate the Cath lab. Still no Cath lab is sight and now HSA is less one OT. No accountability by world class civil service.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This could be assigned to Minister Bernie to focus on now that he has been relieved of so many other responsibilities, and given the close relationship between the fire service and the dump he already has the experience.
    I was going to further suggest that a big stinking pile of garbage is his forte, but then it occurred to me that I can’t think of another PACT member to whom that doesn’t apply.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Is it just a little bit odd that the largest private landowner in the country, probably the largest commercial landlord, the same gent that owns multiple businesses if not industries here remains to all intents and purposes completely invisible? Never interviews. Never explains intentions. Never apologizes.

    Shouldnt we deserve to know and hear from such an extraordinarily influential man?

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Mr Premier. As someone who is so concerned about the environment would you like to declare how many gas guzzling SUV’s you have, and how many gallons an hour your huge boat burns?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Does it matter? The man is entitled to own more than one vehicle like we all are as well as a boat of his choice , just as we all are.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Yes it does, because if you are a true advocate of going green and saving the planet then you should be actively participating, and not just spouting diatribe.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Jennifer will get it done … again ….NOT!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      PACT = useless full of empty promises and lies , worst ever ineffective socialist government in cayman ……….no foresight and no ability to solve anything

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  16. Anonymous says:

    PACT is finished if the dump is still there come election time.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Dart and his senior executives have proven their character whilst ‘managing’ the old Hyatt property ‘dump’. Enough said.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    I am a serious critic of many of Dart’s activities, but they have SO much invested in this little rock in the sea that I believe they want this done correctly. This monstrosity (Dump) due to decades of typical incompetence from CIG is their neighbor. They want it to be managed and go away. Will they make money, of course. Would any company make money to remediate it, of course.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    They’d better start working on WtE laws and regulations today.

    They’d better find comprehensive, performance-based training and qualification programs for plant operators and maintenance technicians today.

    They’d better start working on recruiting licensed and experienced engineers, managers and other upper level staff.

    It won’t be easy to find and recruit the experienced staff. Training will take several years as well.

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  20. When this bid call was put out by CIG IN 2017, the final bids were down to Decco-Dart (a newbie to waste management) and a French-led consortium of several experienced international waste management and waste-to-energy operators. In the final analysis and in a process not open to public scrutiny, Decco-Dart was declared preferred bidder with the French consortium as second preferred bidder- to be re-engaged in negotiations in the event that an agreement with preferred bidder Dart could not be reached.

    It is still not clear on what terms of offer Dart were declared preferred bidder, but one would have thought that a deal should heve been struck by now, some 5 years after ‘winning’ the bid. The failure to get the deal done may be as a result of shifting expectations on the part of CIG but it also could be that unrealistic, even fantastic, deliverables were held out to CIG that got walked back under closer scrutiny- we shall never know.

    What is intriguing to speculate on is what would have happened if the presence of Constructions Industrielles De La Mediterranee as second bidder waiting in the wings, was allowed to loom over the negotiations as intended by the bid terms- there is an even chance that CNIM would have got the job done by now at a price retrospectively more acceptable to the residents of the Cayman Islands.

    Included in the bid scope was the requirement for the collection and processing on Grand, all of Brac and Little’s waste (which was a material part of the proposal under bid). How is it then possible that this was allowed to be omitted from the deliverables required under the bid terms? This alone should have been reason enough to bring CNIM back to the negotiation table, surely?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why wont they let us see what the French company proposes? Is it because Dart/Decco are the “apple of the eye” for the goverment? Dart/Decco know nothing about this work but will only hire someone else to do the job, thus adding more layers of red tape and more cost. Just hire the French company and kick Dart/Decco and all their supervisors off the project!

    • Anonymous says:

      DECCO are just like OfReg, they are the middleman bringing in their consultants to do the heavy lifting. I wouldn’t be surprised if there indemnifying fine print clauses in their contract with CIG.
      It still amazes me that in the more than 30 years of various studies and reports that CIG hasn’t retained worldly experienced professionals skilled in first world waste management technology and experience.
      Instead we have a rag tag bunch of wannabes who essentially get the bidder’s terms rammed down their throats. And some who have no comprehension on what it takes to implement a final solution whatsoever. They seem and most likely are just like past and present politicians disinterested and in it for the perks.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good points.

    • SMH says:

      Ask the PPM as they seem to do whatever Dart want and move the goal posts to benefit any political financiers in all projects during their eight years 2013-2021 as government.

      It will be interesting to hear what now Leader of Opposition Roy McTaggart, Deputy Leader of PPM Joey Hew have to say about the project and how this deal stalled after 5 years of negotiations or why PPM negotiated such bad terms that caused PACT to step in and review terms of the project that has now led to a formal investigation?

      Somewhere Sir Alden McLaughlin is sitting in a bar enjoying a scotch pretending none of this happened during his two terms as Premier of the Cayman Islands. SMH

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    • Anonymous says:

      The French would have surrendered years ago when they realized what it’s like to do business with our government.

    • Anonymous says:

      So you do not believe the Caymanian firm is deserving the project over a foreign entity? Just curious as we say Caymanian first (as we should) for everything else.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lol, no. Dart group has an agenda for the entire area.

      Decides to build in the middle of a stinky mangrove swamp, then wants to demolish every last mangrove in the adjacent area because they smell.

      Microbes fart too, you animals.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Seems so…

  21. Anonymous says:

    Poor PPM led by Alden, dart boy Joey and Jon Jon were desperate to deliver this project for master dart before the last election. They left out left out lots of important details while negotiating a deal that primarily the developer not the best interests of the Caymsn Islands.

    PPM can never be trust to do the right or reasonable thing especially when it comes to dealing with dart. We must never forget those facts. Dart and developers wants a PPM led government so that means majority of Caymanians will always get bad deal.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes but the PPM gang get a good deal for themselves!

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree that PPM can never be trusted and need to be kept out of power ever again.

      Alden and Joey know better, but made a deal with dart.

      Jon Jon on the other hand, I’m not sure he knew what he was doing or even knows now what he did. Poor guy has the innocence and intelligence of a child.

  22. Anonymous says:

    There is now a clear history of unfinished/unhonored Dart deals, maligned aggressions, and offer retractions, that should be viewed holistically and weigh against any new corporate bidding in our territory’s caretaking affairs. The most obvious red flag being that Dart isn’t in the landfill mgmt business, let alone WTE.

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    • Anonymous says:

      That is true. Dart wants power plain and simple over the Cayman Islands.

      Never forget what Dart and George Soros did to Greece and Argentina. Think he wouldn’t do it to Cayman? Think again.

      I like Gabbie and Matt, and would like think that they are one of us, but certain kinks in the armor need to be ironed out.

  23. _||) says:

    We should make “soon come” our new motto.

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